Hill defeats Greeley
By Vikram Birring, Doghouse Boxing (July 12, 2010)  
Eugene “Mean Gene” Hill’s career has hit a standstill. What was once an intriguing knockout machine has become a boxer content to win decisions. It cannot be said that the level of competition has increased, because he is still building up his career against journeymen, hoping for a big money fight at some point.

What complicates the problem is Hill’s advanced age for a prospect, 32. With only a few years of physical prime left, the time is now to advance his boxing career.

On this night, against Andrew Greeley (14-33-3, 8 KO), Hill (22-1, 16 KO) outboxed him for six rounds (60-54, 59-55, 59-55). While it was helpful for Hill to get rounds, his fans have become used to brutal knockouts, but as they say, a win in a win. A real win for Hill will be if he gets a name opponent, and soon.

The last time Eleazar “El Pelon” Contreras was in the ring, nearly a year ago, he was brutally knocked out in a fight he was controlling. It was a devastating, highlight reel defeat. A straight right hand sent him sprawling in front of a raucous local audience.

His return would be more about mental recovery than physical, because a traumatic loss like the one he suffered is humiliating publicly, but even more so to a boxer’s pride.

His opponent was Jerron Lockette. Laughably, the ring announcer stated he is pound for pound the best boxer from San Antonio. Raul “Cobrita” Martinez may take offense to that. Or Gabriel Elizondo. Or Gilbert Elizondo. Or a number of other River City boxers for that matter.

Lockette’s record coming into the bout was four wins, sixteen defeats, and two draws: A perfect confidence builder for Contreras.

Conteras (9-1-1, 5 KO) fought his style of fight, circling to the left against Lockette (4-17-2) and mixing in body punches along the way. The rust was apparent, as his shots were somewhat wider than usual, but with time and practice his sharpness should return to the level that it was. Time will tell. Scores were 60-54 on two cards and 59-55 on the third.

How Douglas “Preacher Man” Robertson continues to be approved to receive a boxing license is beyond belief. His record is decrepit, even by journeyman standards, at three wins, twenty-five defeats, and two draws. In his last fight, he was brutally knocked out in 105 seconds. In the fight before, fifty seconds. The fight before that, he lasted to the third round. And two fights before that, stopped with twenty-one seconds left in the first round.

Boxers such as these are the definition of human punching bag.

If there is a positive remark to be made, it is that his robe is aesthetically impressive, and that his gospel music entrance was uplifting. Some ringsiders were praying for his safety, for his opponent was imposing former college football player Darlington “Cheek” Agha. The running joke before the fight was that Agha and Robertson had the same number of victories (three, never mind Agha is 3-0 as compared to Robertson’s aforementioned record), and thus it was a valid match up.

Robertson (3-25-2) lasted longer than usual, laying on the ropes as Agha (4-0, 4 KO) stayed in his chest, trying to gain leverage on punches, as Robertson tried to execute a shoulder roll, but eventually Agha’s brute power prevailed, and the match was stopped thirty-six seconds into the third round.

Star amateur but recently turned professional Rogelio De La Torre (2-0, 2 KO) scored a Hollywood-style knockout against Antwan Burris (1-3, 1 KO) in the second round of their bout. Burris, a tall, lanky man with a large cranium, backed up towards the corner. Unfortunately, his hands were down, and De La Torre, a muscular, strong young man, ripped a left hook into Burris’s right cheek.

His head swiveled to the left, but so did all the spectators behind him, for his mouthpiece was sent flying deep into the audience, a visually stunning event that could not have been planned better if it was made frame by frame in a Pixar studio. Burris eventually rose, wondering what happened. What should happen is that he should quit boxing, and for De La Torre, a former state Golden Gloves champion, the sky is the limit.

If De La Torre was a star amateur, Jerren Cochran was a mega-star. Ranked number two in the country at 125 pounds, Cochran was on a fast track to the Olympic team until he failed a doping test for taking an unapproved diuretic. A two-year ban meant he had to turn professional or wait until 2016 for a chance at the Olympics. He chose the former.

His opponent was human twig Stephen Williams. To describe Williams, visualize a starving child just placed in a refugee camp. Williams had no business anywhere near a boxing ring, or any recreational athletic event.

Cochran (1-0, 1 KO) helped him realize that in 175 seconds, for after sending Williams (0-1) reeling around the ring repeatedly, the referee mercifully stopped the bout. Williams can tell his grandchildren he nearly made it out of the round, if that is any solace.

Local woman boxer Johanna Mendez’s (8-0-1, 3 KO) night was stopped sooner than expected, when in the second round, a perfectly placed left jab into a rushing Geni Taylor (2-1, 1 KO) opened up a flowing cut upon Taylor’s forehead. Within seconds, Taylor’s face was masked in blood, and the doctor called a halt to proceedings. Official time was thirty-one seconds.

Raymond Brown (1-0) and Joshua Cheatham (0-1) are two athletes that were converted into boxers.

For the majority of their four rounds, they stood and looked at each other, waiting for an opportunity to find an opening. And waiting, and waiting.

Rationally, their style was perfectly logical, for each landed punch causes irreparable brain damage. But logical men usually do not choose boxing as an occupation, where the goal is to knock the other man unconscious while placing yourself at fatal danger.

The toughest job was for the judges, who had to choose a victor of the stalemate. Brown won, presumably since he is the local boy, 40-36, 39-37, and 38-38.

In the most competitive, and comical, bout of the evening, rugged John Bernal and budding actor Joshua London waged war for three nearly two complete rounds until the referee saw enough.

One local hooligan who stated, “They both fight like they just got out of prison”, best described the bout.

London (1-1, 1 KO, 1 NC) kept his hands low, and threw wild, winging punches. Bernal (1-0, 1 KO) walked straight forward, crouched low, but suffered from Andrew Golota syndrome: he could not keep his punches above the belt line.

Three times London went sprawling to the canvas from low blows, though each time, a few seconds after the punch landed. He maximized his recovery time, and after the third infraction, the referee had enough. But instead of disqualifying Bernal, he gave him a technical knockout, stating London was looking for a way out of the bout. Perhaps he was a former acting coach and recognized London’s auditioning skills, or maybe he had just viewed numerous World Cup games in the last month. Bernal shrugged his shoulders, he wanted a knockout, but if the pain that London exhibited on his face was anywhere near reality, he won the fight on the pain meter anyway. Official time was thirty-four seconds.

Questions or comments,
Vikram at: vikram.birring@gmail.com

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